Decision : Not upheld
Decision date : 06 Jan 2022
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: Mr B complained about the siting of a bus stop and shelter outside his home. He said the use of the bus stop caused him and his family disturbance and distress from people waiting and behaving inconsiderately. He said they sit on his front wall, drop litter and can be noisy and threatening. He considered it would have devalued his property. There was no fault by the Council.
- I call the complainant Mr B. He complained about the siting of a bus stop and shelter outside his home. He said the use of the bus stop caused him and his family disturbance and distress from people waiting and behaving inconsiderately. He said they sit on his front wall, drop litter and can be noisy and threatening. He considered it would have devalued his property.
What I have investigated
- I have investigated events since the beginning of 2020. I explain at the end of this statement why I am not investigating the original decision to erect the bus stop.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We cannot investigate late complaints unless we decide there are good reasons. Late complaints are when someone takes more than 12 months to complain to us about something a council has done. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26B and 34D, as amended)
- We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)
- We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the complaint and documents provided by Mr B and spoke to him I asked the Council to comment on the complaint and provide information. Mr B and the Council now have an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I will consider their comments before making a final decision.
What I found
Summary of the key events
- Mr B lives on a main road and in around 2018 a bus stop was moved a short distance and erected outside his home. This had come about following the Council granting planning permission for a large scale redevelopment which necessitated moving an existing bus stop.
- Mr B was unhappy with the behaviour of people using the stop and raised his concerns with the Council. The Council agreed to erect railings on the wall at the front of Mr B’s property. Mr B wanted additional works done to the wall itself but the Council considered that would be too expensive. The Council is drawing up a legal agreement so that terms of any ongoing maintenance of the railings are clear.
- In 2021 a shelter was erected for the bus stop.
- I explain at the end of this statement why I am not going to consider the original decision to move the bus stop. The decision to erect the shelter was because the old stop had a shelter. There was some delay in erecting the shelter as it was probably two years after the stop had been erected. But this is not a significant point. There was no need for any express permission to erect the shelter and the time taken to put it up di not, in itself, cause any injustice to Mr B.
- I do not have details of the time frame for how long the works to Mr B’s property have been in contemplation. The Council said that there was some delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Council is going beyond any duties it has in offering to do this work. So any delay in completing them has not caused of significant injustice to Mr B.
- There was no fault by the Council.
Parts of the complaint that I did not investigate
- I have not investigated the original decision to erect the bus stop. This is because it came about as a result of a large scale development which was approved in late 2017. Mr B could have made a complaint to us at that time.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman